Becoming Urban

Investigating the Anatomy of the Late Bronze Age Complex, Maroni, Cyprus


  • Sturt W Manning Cornell University
  • Georgia-Marina Andreou University of Edinburgh
  • Kevin D Fisher University of British Columbia
  • Peregrine Gerard-Little Cornell University
  • Catherine Kearns Cornell University
  • Jeffrey F. Leon Cornell University
  • David A Sewell University of Edinburgh
  • Thomas M Urban University of Oxford



Cyprus, demography, geophysics, Late Bronze Age, Maroni, urbanisation


The transformations entangled in becoming an urban society are increasingly attracting attention in archaeology, including in the Mediterranean. The place-making entailed in the development of urban settlement represents a fundamental change for a society; it creates over time a new urban mentalité and habitus, such that the urban fabric and place become an active part of social life, and its reproduction. While urbanism does not require the ‘state’, urban settlements form key venues for social, economic and political change leading to the potential development of sedentary early complex polities. For several areas of the world and in multiple periods, there are increasingly sophisticated studies of urbanisation. To date, Cyprus has received relatively little attention—but, as increasingly recognised, urbanisation was central to the island’s rapid change into, and emergence as, a substantial element of the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean world. We consider and critique the case of urbanisation on Late Bronze Age Cyprus and highlight its importance to Cypriot and eastern Mediterranean prehistory. We explore in detail one particular case, the Maroni valley area and its Late Bronze Age complex, where relatively detailed information is becoming available from a combination of excavations, pedestrian survey and archaeological geophysics. We argue that only such detailed study allows proper recognition of the nature and anatomy of urban settlements on prehistoric Cyprus; we also argue that the scale (spatial and demographic) of the main Late Bronze Age urban settlements on Cyprus should not be underestimated.

Author Biographies

Sturt W Manning, Cornell University

Sturt W. Manning is Goldwin Smith Professor of Classical Archaeology, Cornell University. His research interests include Mediterranean archaeology and archaeological science. For recent publications, see

Georgia-Marina Andreou, University of Edinburgh

Georgia-Marina Andreou recently defended her PhD at the University of Edinburgh. Her research interests include theoretical and practical landscape archaeology, earth sciences, survey design and sustainable methods and preservation in Mediterranean archaeology. She has participated in a number of projects in Cyprus and Scotland, with the most recent being Souskiou Laona, the Palaipaphos Landscape Project and the Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environments (KAMBE) Project.

Kevin D Fisher, University of British Columbia

Kevin D. Fisher is Assistant Professor of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology, Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies, University of British Columbia. He is interested in the social dynamics of built environments, the origins and development of complex societies in the eastern Mediterranean and Near East, and the application of geospatial and digital technologies in archaeological research. He has worked on projects in Cyprus, Jordan, Greece, Peru, Guatemala, the US and Canada. He is co-editor of the 2014 volume Making Ancient Cities: Space and Place in Early Urban Societies (Cambridge University Press).

Peregrine Gerard-Little, Cornell University

Peregrine Gerard-Little is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Cornell University. Her research interests include archaeogeophysical survey, human landscape interactions, and the archaeology of colonialism. She has participated in the Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environments (KAMBE) Project on Cyprus as well as the Cornell University project at the Seneca Iroquois site of White Springs.

Catherine Kearns, Cornell University

Catherine Kearns is a PhD candidate at Cornell University researching Iron Age Cyprus, archaeological survey, and environmental change. Her other interests include built environments and archaeological science. She has recently been involved in fieldwork in Cyprus, Armenia, Jordan and Italy, and has published on the art of ancient landscapes (2013) and the built complex of Vouni, Cyprus in this journal (2011).

Jeffrey F. Leon, Cornell University

Jeffrey F. Leon is a PhD Candidate in Classical Archaeology at Cornell University whose research applies isotopic analyses to questions concerning the LBA political economy on Crete and Cyprus. His other research interests include archaeological science and archaeological geophysics. In addition to working on the Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environments (KAMBE) Project, he has also worked on field projects in Honduras, Israel, Armenia, Cyprus and Greece.

David A Sewell, University of Edinburgh

David A. Sewell is an Honorary Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Edinburgh, particularly interested in prehistoric Cyprus. He has worked and published on the excavation, survey, underwater study, GIS analysis and post-excavation analysis of the archaeology of the Maroni valley for over 20 years, on the archaeology of the coastal area of the Vasilikos Valley (Zygi Petrini and especially Tokhni Lakkia), and on the archaeology of western Cyprus, especially at Souskiou Laona. He has also worked on field projects elsewhere, especially Beirut.

Thomas M Urban, University of Oxford

Thomas M. Urban is Weidenfeld Research Fellow at the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford. His research background includes near-surface exploration geophysics for a wide range of applications as well as general archaeological and environmental science. He has directed geophysical data collection at more than 200 archaeological sites worldwide and participated in numerous environmental and engineering projects as a consultant to government agencies and private industry.



How to Cite

Manning, S. W., Andreou, G.-M., Fisher, K. D., Gerard-Little, P., Kearns, C., Leon, J. F., Sewell, D. A., & Urban, T. M. (2014). Becoming Urban: Investigating the Anatomy of the Late Bronze Age Complex, Maroni, Cyprus. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, 27(1), 3–32.